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Brazil orders Chevron to shut down production well
by Staff Writers
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) Dec 1, 2011

Brazilian authorities ordered US oil giant Chevron on Thursday to shut down a production well at an offshore facility where a leak was discovered last month.

The country's oil regulator said it issued the order after finding dangerous hydrogen sulfide gas in a production well at the Frade field, 370 kilometers (230 miles) off the Rio de Janeiro state coast.

The agency accused Chevron of failing to inform authorities about the presence of the gas, discovered during an inspection last week. The US company countered that it "conducts regular monitoring of the substance" and has "safety systems and processes in place."

The well accounts for "less than 10 percent" of the field's total production of about 79,000 barrels per day, according to Chevron.

The US company said it "respects the decisions" of the regulatory agency and would respond to the government's requests.

"All Frade production and injection wells are safe and secure," it added.

Last month, a leak in a well operated by Chevron near the Frade field unleashed a crude oil slick in the area, prompting authorities to suspend the company's exploration operations off Rio.

Brazilian authorities say the spill is now under control.

Chevron faces a slew of fines from federal and Rio state authorities that together could exceed $145 million.

The leak could jeopardize Chevron's access to huge new offshore oil fields, which Brazil's National Petroleum agency says have reserves that could surpass 100 billion barrels of high-quality recoverable oil.

But Chevron said it was "confident it will successfully respond to the ANP's concerns and be able to resume operation of its production and injection wells in due time."

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Nigerian rights group reports fresh spills in oil region
Lagos (AFP) Nov 13, 2011 - A Nigerian rights group on Saturday reported fresh spills from a pipeline operated by Agip, the local subsidiary of Italian oil group Eni, in a community in the southern oil state of Bayelsa.

The Environmental Rights Action (ERA)/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FoEN), said in a statement it visited Kalaba community on Friday and observed five spill points on the pipeline which was spewing oil into the environment.

"While two of the spill points are spewing semi-refined petroleum products, the other three points were spraying real crude oil into the air and surrounding environment in gaseous form," it said.

The group said heavy volumes of crude oil were observed in and around the spill point environment, settling on vegetation, land and water surfaces.

ERA urged Agip to clean up the oil and compensate the affected community.

"Agip should stop applying double standards in responding to oil spills. The company should mobilise to the site and, not only stop the spills, but clean up the impacted environment properly," it said.

Agip officials were not immediately available for comment, but pipeline damage and associated spills are common in the Niger Delta region as a result of oil theft to feed the lucrative black market.

Nigeria is Africa's largest crude producer, accounting for a daily export of more than two million barrels.


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War fears as South Sudan's oil exports cut
Juba, South Sudan (UPI) Dec 1, 2011
Newly independent South Sudan has had its vital oil exports cut off by Sudan, undermining negotiations between the two sides on a revenue-sharing agreement to avert another conflict that could disrupt East Africa as moves toward an oil boom. As it is, fighting has rippled along the still-undefined border between Sudan and its former southern zone since the latter became independent July ... read more

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